Legal: Licensing for DIY-Installed Monitored Security Systems Across County Lines

As traditional security dealers and new entrepreneurs follow the model of factory-configured, self-installed monitored security systems, what are the licensing requirements for nationwide coverage?

Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq

DIY home security systems have taken the alarm industry by storm, allowing smaller businesses to expand and offer services across state lines more easily than ever before.

This new geographical territory also comes with a whole new set of rules, regulations and licensing issues to navigate. In the last year many of you [security dealers] have asked me about getting licensed in different states across the U.S., including which states require licenses and how long the process will take.

The answers to these questions vary greatly depending on the type of license, and specific state involved.

Here are some of the top licensing issues I’ve encountered when it comes to getting licensed across the U.S.:

States with no statewide licensing system

This rarely means there are no rules. Rather, it usually foreshadows that the state is going to allow both counties and/or municipalities to regulate the alarm industry.

This often means registering with multiple levels of government and navigating each county’s specific alarm rules and regulations, which becomes an issue when states have over 50 counties. 

Old/Unwritten Rules

Many states have outdated rules that are no longer followed, or enforce rules which cannot be found in any statute or regulation, not even with a fine-toothed comb.

Examples include trivial things like the number of copies to be submitted, or rules referencing outdated technology, or more significant changes like new interpretations of old rules, often based on changes in policy.

A good example of this is California’s recent shift toward requiring alarm company qualifiers to be located and based out of California.

Strict Rules and Serious Backlog

One of the most common issues is backlog, with some states taking up to six months to approve a license. Other issues include rules which discourage out-of-state companies from getting licensed [by requiring] in-person ID checks, in-person interviews with qualifiers, and the requirement of in-state qualifiers or office locations. 
Licensing issues are handled by the Alarm License Department of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC, headed by Nicoletta Lakatos,Esq., 516 747 6700 x 311

RELATED: DIY vs Pro Monitored Home Security: How Law Enforcement Responds to 911 Calls

Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq., is principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC, attorneys at law, focusing on the alarm industry. He is a regular columnist for CE Pro's sister publication Security Sales & Integration.